No matter where you are, Wi-Fi that’s slow or unreliable can completely disrupt the pace of business. This is true whether you’re in your company offices, working from home, or working remotely in some other location.
Sometimes there’s nothing much you can do. If you’ve ever tried to jump on Zoom or Teams for a video call over satellite internet while on a trip to the mountains, it probably wasn’t pretty. And while we don’t recommend accessing sensitive company information on them, the public Wi-Fi at McDonald’s or Starbucks or Panera is also subject to speed and reliability issues outside your control.
That said, for most of us working from a business location or our homes, there are some tricks worth trying.
If you’re dealing with slow Wi-Fi in the office or in your home office, try these 5 quick tips before calling in the pros.
For starters, you should run a speed test. Some ISPs offer this within their app or portal, or you can use a reliable web-based one like speedtest.net. If the numbers on the speed test consistently come back low (say, with a mbps score in the single digits), you may need to upgrade your bandwidth.
But if your numbers usually somewhat higher (in the double or triple digits, or even crossing over 999 mbps into 1 gbps+ territory) and are really low this time, something else is going on. Your provider may be having issues, or you may be trying to do too much over the connection. (More on that in the next section.)
Next up is checking network load, which is a fancy way of saying “see who’s doing what on the network.” In the office, you’ll probably need admin tools to do this perfectly, but if your team is small enough, you could just ask around. At home, it’s just a matter of polling family/visitors/roommates.
On your home connection, it’s possible you may have people streaming content to multiple TVs while downloading something onto a computer and using a phone or tablet to browse social media— all while you’re trying to work!
The more content people are downloading and uploading, the slower your connection might seem. If your network is congested (especially with non-work activities), try logging off some devices and see if the situation improves.
At home, your Wi-Fi router may occasionally get hung up or slow down. These things are built to be pretty resilient, so they usually fix themselves when they power back up. So turn off (or in some cases unplug) your Wi-Fi router, wait around a minute, and then power it back up. Run a speed test once the connection returns and see if you’re back in business.
In the office, this process is usually a little more complicated. Your IT personnel or IT service partner can do something similar, but you probably don’t want just anyone trying the “unplug it and plug it back in” approach.
If the problem seems to be limited to certain devices, then it’s not the network. It’s the device. Say your phone is running YouTube just fine over Wi-Fi but your laptop can’t send an email on the same Wi-Fi network. Usually, restarting your laptop will solve the problem.
Last, take a look at what devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network. At home, you can usually do this in your ISP’s app or portal, or you may need to log into the router. At work, you’ll need access to some sort of admin portal—which we can help you set up.
If you see any devices that you don’t recognize or you know shouldn’t be on the network, contact us (or your existing IT partner) right away. This could be much worse than just a slowdown: someone could be accessing your network for nefarious purposes.
That’s it for our 5 tips. We hope these can help you solve some low-level Wi-Fi speed problems. If not, then it’s time to call in the pros. Reach out to our team, and we’ll schedule a visit as soon as possible.